NASA Successfully Launched Pair of Small Climate Satellites

  • 27 May 2024

On May 25th, 2024, NASA successfully launched the first of a pair of small climate satellites on from the Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand under the PREFIRE (Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment).

Key Points of Mission

  • Aim: To study heat emissions at the Earth’s poles, shedding light on the intricate interplay between these regions and global climate change.
  • Components: The mission has two shoebox-sized CubeSats, each equipped with a sophisticated thermal infrared spectrometer capable of measuring the far-infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s coldest and most remote regions.
  • Duration: The mission is expected to operate for 10 months, gathering invaluable data on the Earth’s energy budget – the delicate balance between incoming heat energy from the Sun and the outgoing heat given off by the planet.
  • Partnership: It was jointly developed by NASA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory managing the mission and providing the spectrometers.
  • Technology: Blue Canyon Technologies built the CubeSats, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison will process the data collected by the instruments.